The short answer: No. We do so much more than "check the grammar." <3 <3
Tutors can guide you through the writing process
The writing process can be explained in a lot of different ways. Liz Gilbert talks about how there is a genius (or genie) in side each of us that assists in our process for developing ideas. It's fickle and frustrating most of the time, but that's the nature of creating art. Writing takes persistence and determination!
Earnest Hemingway described it like "bleeding at a type writer." These are supposed to be the professionals! If they have difficulty navigating the wild writing process safari, what hope do we have? That's where tutors (or critique partners or beta readers) can come in. They can guide you through this messy, heart-wrenching, scary, exhilarating process. And, trust me, we all need them...
Quick Review of the Writing Process
When I teach the writing process, I often explain or review the steps of the writing process as:
In other words....
Tutors can help at any and all stages of the writing process, from understanding the prompt or goal for your assignment, to brainstorming and drafting ideas (organizing them using a thesis statement, topic sentences, etc), to revising (reordering those ideas or asking questions about your unity or coherence, etc.)---all the way to supporting your self-editing endeavors by helping you identify grammatical-error patterns and talking you through audience expectations and/or formatting expectations like MLA and APA.
Tutors are collaborators
As mentioned above, writing tutors can help at any and all stages of the writing process. Nothing makes us happier, actually, than helping a writer from start to finish.
What else do writing tutors do?
Writing tutors give personal experiences in combating and taming the wild writing process and college life. We mediate for professors or teachers, helping students understand why their teacher is assigning "this homework." Writing tutors can help prevent disasters (if students come in early enough), so they don't turn in something the teacher doesn't want.
We rejoice. We cry. We teach. We ask critical questions. And... yes... we can answer questions centered around grammar, too.
The next time you talk to a writing tutor, think about what kind of help you want from them. It's not just about making writing better. It's about making you a better writer. Don't just say, "I want you to fix the grammar" or "I need your help to edit my paper."
Think about your project. What are your goals? Where do you feel you're lacking? Is it length? Is it organization? Are you at the beginning of the project, unsure where to begin? Are you at the end of the project and unhappy with your conclusion? Or are you somewhere in the middle of this messy process? If you still think it's grammar that you need help with, that's okay. Just remember that as writing tutors, we can help with so much more! So don't hesitate to ask.
My writing coordinator used to always say,"we help writers, not just writing." It's become my personal creed as a tutor.
National Tutor Appreciation Week is always the first week of October, but why wait? Tell a tutor today why you value them. If you're a tutor, learn how to certify and level-up your tutoring skills with CRLA. Perhaps the school you tutor for is accredited with them.
Tutoring ESL, college writing, reading, and English grammar since 2005!